Jesús Colón was involved as an activist with the Puerto Rican and Latino communities in New York City. He understood the plight of the poor, working-class immigrant, since he had held a variety of odd jobs, from dishwasher to dockworker. A committed socialist, Colón wrote from New York for a socialist newspaper, Justicia, published in Spanish in Puerto Rico. He also contributed articles in English to the New York-based socialist newspapers The Daily Worker and The Worker. His publications denounced violations against the working class, and they opposed biased attitudes against the Puerto Rican, the Latino, and the African American populations. His 1961 anthology gathers together some of those articles, some of them published for the first time in English.
Colón’s background as a newspaper reporter directly influenced his sketches. Born to a humble peasant family, Colón aims to offer a kinder view of the Puerto Rican experience by recapturing key moments of his own life and stressing particular folk traditions as representative of Puerto Rican culture. His struggle to succeed in New York City, where he arrived at sixteen, illustrates the saga of the Puerto Ricans generally, who since the 1920’s have come to that city by the thousands. In spite of the sizable importance of the Puerto Rican population, Colón protests a generally negative attitude toward Puerto Ricans. Colón offers, instead, his own life as example of the...
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